Rochester flower overlaid with Palestine flag; Green background with Rochester skyline. Title: Speak to Council: Our Freedom is Bound Together

Speak to Council: Our Freedom is Bound Together

The following remarks were made by Rochester DSA members at Rochester City Council on March 14, 2024. This session was streamed by Rochester DSA, in coordination with No BID Roc. Footage of the event (all 5 hours!) remains available here.

Click here for the text of the Ceasefire Resolution (MR-0010-24). To learn more about Business Improvement Districts, check out No BID Roc, along with previous coverage from Rochester Red Star.


A Chorus of Voices Calling Upon City Council

by Brent

City Councilmembers, I’d like to start by thanking Councilmember Martin for putting forward the Ceasefire Resolution. I’m calling on all of you to support this; it would be great to see this passed unanimously next Tuesday.

The City of Rochester passing a ceasefire resolution may not be the last straw that stops the Israeli assault on Palestinians, but it is crucial that Rochester joins the chorus of voices telling Governor Hochul and President Biden that they are both out of step with their voters, and that Rochester doesn’t stand for genocide!

Other people have made the case better than I can over the past two months and today. I don’t think I can add anything more, other than that the people of this city who elected you are demanding this resolution to be passed!

In addition to the Ceasefire Resolution, I’m calling on you to stop the Business Improvement District, put pressure on the County Legislature to pass the feasibility study for buying out RG&E, passing a vacancy study

…and, just as I’m asking you to join the City of Chicago in passing a ceasefire resolution, I’m also asking you to join the City of Chicago in ending our contract with Sound Thinking (formerly known as Shot Spotter). A recent Wired article revealed that these surveillance devices are exclusively in Rochester’s Black and Latine neighborhoods, with not a single one in the whiter South East District of our city. A 2021 study showed that upwards of 89% of ShotSpotter alerts don’t lead to evidence of a gun related crime. But they do lead to increased police presence and interaction in neighborhoods with Shotspotter devices.

To summarize:

  • End the contract with Shotspotter.
  • Pressure County Leg. to pass a feasibility study.
  • Start a new vacancy study.
  • Stop the BID.
  • Ceasefire Now.
  • Free Palestine.


Can You HEAR Us?

by Kelly Cheatle

This microphone — Is it working?

I mean, I suppose it is. It amplifies my voice while I’m up here. It makes it louder. I know theoretically you can hear me. But it’s hard to tell if sometimes if you’re listening, because for some reason, some formality restricts you from responding in the moment, so we can’t always tell. And with all due respect, too often the majority of you have not acted or voted in alignment with what the people are saying from this mic over and over.

We need you to pay attention to the people of Rochester, not the gentrifiers driving the mayor’s agenda, but the people who live here now. We have a right to survive and thrive in our homes and to not be displaced. And so do the people of Palestine. Our freedom is bound together.

STOP THE BID.
PAUSE THE ASSESSMENTS.
FUND THE VACANCY STUDY.
CEASE FIRE NOW.

Council, show us you’ve heard us. Come together. Stand with us by standing up for us and fight for the future we deserve together.


Killing Children is Not Self Defense

by Mickey

I’m here in support of the Ceasefire Resolution. Since October 7, Israel has killed over 30,000 Palestinians and displaced over 2 million. There is no justification for that. When you look at the death toll on both sides, I think it’s clear that what Israel is doing is not self defense. Killing children is not self defense.

I am ashamed that my country is funding a genocide that we’re all witnessing with our own eyes. The people of Rochester are asking for city council to join other cities across the country in calling for a ceasefire in order to save lives. This is an opportunity for you to be on the right side of history, and I believe you have a moral obligation to call for an end to this. I urge you to vote yes on the resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.


Act for All of Humanity

by Jack Mottley

I’m Jack Mottley, a resident of Rochester for over 35 years, and I’m speaking in favor of MR-0010-24, which expresses the will of the people of Rochester, through its elected officials, for an end to military aid to the State of Israel.

The entirely disproportionate response by the Israeli state against the people who were already living under siege in Gaza is indefensible. It violates many provisions of international law, and contrary to our own laws and principles the U.S. federal government is underwriting it to the tune of billions of our tax dollars.

It is our patriotic duty to express our displeasure with these decisions being made within our federal government’s highest offices, and at least try to stop the death toll from rising even more. If those officials choose to ignore us, then they must be held accountable, though that can only occur later at the ballot box.

I call upon you, our closest and most directly accountable elected officials, to express the will of the people of Rochester to those higher up the chain who do not listen to individuals.

This resolution costs the City of Rochester nothing. It does not commit a dollar of our money, indeed it asks to reserve our federal tax payments for peaceful uses rather than violent ones. It only calls upon our government to act morally rather than vindictively. To act for all of humanity, rather than a spiteful few. I call for the adoption of MR-0010-24.


What More Needs to be Said?

by Gregory Lebens-Higgins

You’ve heard the numbers. You’ve seen the pictures and video. What more needs to be said? Passing a ceasefire resolution isn’t even a bold stance, it’s just the correct one. Let’s join:

Arizona:
South Tucson

California:
Arcata
Brentwood
Cotati
Cudahy
Davis
Folsom
Fort Bragg
Hollister
Laguna Beach
Lemon Grove
Long Beach
Madera
Montebello
Oakland
Ojai
Pomona
Richmond
San Francisco
Santa Ana
Yurok Tribe

Colorado:
Glenwood Springs

Connecticut:
Bridgeport
Windsor

Delaware:
Wilmington

Florida:
St. Petersburg

Georgia:
Atlanta

Illinois:
Bolingbrook
Chicago
DuPage Township

Iowa:
Coralville
Iowa City

Kansas:
Lawrence

Maine:
Belfast
Portland

Massachusetts:
Amherst
Cambridge
Medford
Northampton
Somerville

Michigan:
Ann Arbor
Canton
Dearborn
Dearborn Heights
Detroit
Ferndale
Hamtramck
Kalamazoo
Lansing
Warren
Washtenaw County
Wayne County
Ypsilanti

Minnesota:
Columbia Heights
Hastings
Minneapolis (Overriding the Mayor’s veto)
Moorhead
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians
St. Paul

Missouri:
St. Louis

New Hampshire:
Durham

New Jersey:
Haledon
Paterson
Prospect Park
Union City

New Mexico:
Taos

New York:
Albany
Beacon
Hudson
Ithaca

North Carolina:
Carrboro
Durham
Greensboro

Ohio:
Akron
Athens
Dayton
Toledo
Yellow Springs

Oregon:
Eugene
Klamath Tribe
Multnomah County
Talent

Pennsylvania:
Erie
State College

Rhode Island:
Providence

South Dakota:
Oceti Sakowin Treaty Council for the Great Sioux Nation

Vermont:
Bradford
Dummerston
Marshfield
Newfane
Putney
Richmond
Sharon
Shelburne
Thetford
West Windsor
Woodbury

Virginia:
Harrisonburg

Washington:
Bellingham
Jefferson County
Langley
Olympia
Port Townsend
San Juan County
Seattle

Wisconsin:
Dane County
Madison

Pass the Resolution. Ceasefire Now.

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